Nestled along the Foothills of the beautiful Smoky Mountains lie remnants of a time gone by. Old homesteads, barns and a few churches are all that remain of the settlers that had once made Cades Cove their home. This isolated valley shares a rich history from the Cherokees who first made this their home and their chief that Cades Cove was named after, to the settlers that made moonshine and fought off attacks during the Confederate War. Even through the sicknesses and hard times, those that lived here loved this place.
When the Smoky Mountains became a National Park, the people of Cades Cove were promised their lands and homes would not be affected. That changed not long after when the government decided that Cades Cove would make a beautiful acquisition to the park. People were forced to leave their homes. A handful were granted the right to live out their lives there but most had no choice but to leave. All but the few remaining structures were torn down and the area left clear of the once populated settlement.
Now millions visit Cades Cove every year to drive the loop, hike the trails, camp and see the abundant wildlife. Bears, deer, coyote and turkey frequent this area and can be seen most days. Yet, I wonder how many realize what the people of the Cades Cove gave up for us to have this beautiful tourist site.